Value in Emptiness

tao te king chapter 11We tend to see the value of things based the tangible — what we can see and touch.

For example, when we see a pot, we are engrossed on what the pot looks like.  Its shape, materials, workmanship and what not.  Rarely do we give our attention to the real value of the pot.

In fact, the real purpose of existence of the pot is something that you cannot see — its emptiness.  Just like what Lao Tzu says in Tao Te King:

We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.

— Laozi Tao Te Ching quotes 11

Without the emptiness,  a pot is a stone. It’s useless as a pot.

This is applicable to other things as well.

The world is very weird.  Whatever that you can see are not the real value.   It is often what you can’t see and touch that is offering the real value.

So if you are employing a person, see beyond his look, diplomas skill set.  They are important.  But it is often the intangibles such as his attitude and aspiration that are going to make him a person of value.  If he is not motivated to perform the ways useful to the company, he’s not going to help you the way you want — no matter how impressive the intangibles are.

For the same token, money is useful not for its paper value, but the things it can buy — as well as the joy of owning the new purchases acquired through the money.

A house is useful not for its pillars and wall.  It is the space where you can live in and build a happy family that is of importance.

The emptiness,  of course cannot exist without the tangible. A pot cannot be a pot  without the clay.   A house can be a house without the  pillars and walls.

The importance is to balance the two.  This is the yin yang of life.

 

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2 Responses to “Value in Emptiness”

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